Study says — People Who Live Close To The Sea Are Happier

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  • People who live close to the sea tend to be happier
  • People who live less than a kilometer from the coast are less likely to have mental health problems than those who live 50 kilometers or more away from the coast
  • Access to coastal environments may be beneficial for people’s health and well-being

Findings of a new study have revealed that people who live close to the sea tend to be happier and have better mental health than those who live inland.

Image via Pixabay

In a new study that looked at the data of 25,963 respondents in the Health Survey for England from 2008 to 2012, researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK found that living in large towns and cities near the coastline is associated with better mental health for those in the lowest earning households.

The researchers found that people who live less than a kilometer from the coast are about 22 percent less likely to have mental health problems compared with those who live 50 kilometers or more away from the coast.

Among those from low income households, those who live less than a kilometer from the coast are about 40 percent less likely to have symptoms of mental health issues than their counterparts who live more than 50 kilometers away.

“Our findings support the contention that, for urban adults, coastal settings may help to reduce health inequalities in England,” the researchers wrote in their study published in the journal Health & Place in September 2019.

The findings of the research add to a growing number of evidence suggesting that access to blue spaces, particularly coastal environments, may be beneficial for people’s health and well-being.

Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are more likely to occur in people from poorer backgrounds. The findings suggest that access to the coast may help reduce mental health inequalities between the rich and the poor.

“This kind of research into blue health is vital to convincing governments to protect, create and encourage the use of coastal spaces,” said University of Exeter environmental psychologist Matthew White.

“We need to help policy makers understand how to maximize the well-being benefits of ‘blue’ spaces in towns and cities and ensure that access is fair and inclusive for everyone, while not damaging our fragile coastal environments.”